A little over two weeks ago, New Ways Ministry put out a call to start the canonization process for Fr. Mychal Judge, OFM, the New York City Fire Department chaplain who died while ministering in the World Trade Center on 9/11, and who also was a dear friend to many LGBT Catholics and others who struggled with the church and life’s challenges.
So far the response has been very positive. Twenty-six people who knew Fr. Judge personally have contacted New Ways Ministry, and we have forwarded their contact information to the priest who is a postulator for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican.
We still need your help though to spread the word. Instructions below let you know how you can assist this cause.
Our initial announcement spread over the internet with at least 1500 people sharing our blog post link on Facebook. Two newspaper articles have appeared on two sides of the U.S. continent, one a general audience newspaper and one a gay publication.
New Jersey’s Bergen Record reported on a shrine to Fr. Judge that was built across from the East Rutherford parish where he served. The leader of the movement to build the shrine was Reverend Donald Pitches, pastor of First Presbyterian Church,, Carlstadt, who said of Fr. Judge:
“I was always a great admirer of Fr. Mychal Judge’s ministries. If they can make him a saint, why not? I recognize the feelings, if not outright opposition, from some people. Some say he never did anything more than any other friar was expected to do. I still think he’s worth this recognition. I’m not fully cognizant of the process for canonization, but others are recognized maybe for less. Mychal Judge was known for his selfless sacrifice and service.”
New Ways Ministry’s Executive Director Francis DeBernardo told the Record that Fr. Judge had many dimensions to his pastoral outreach:
“He’s revered by many as a saint, especially in the LBGT community. I thought we should start a movement to get him canonized. One [label] doesn’t cancel out another. He’s the saint of 9/11 but he’s also helped the gay community, homeless people, those with addictions. There were many facets of his ministry.”
The Record also produced a short slide show about the canonization process which you can view by clicking here.
On the other side of the U.S.A, The Bay Area Reporter, San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper, wrote about the canonization movement, and spoke with Salvatore Sapienza, who worked with Fr. Judge in an HIV/AIDS ministry in New York City. Sapienz remembered:
“The Catholic Church was not responding to the crisis at all, and many people in the gay community saw the Catholic Church as the enemy. . . .Nobody in the church was really doing anything until Mychal had the idea to start something.”
Sapienza also remembered Fr. Judge’s personal qualities:
” ‘He really was a saintly figure in so many ways. Unfortunately, we think of saints as being people who were pious holy rollers, and Mychal was a very real person. He was the New York City fire chaplain, so he was hanging out with these blue-collar firefighters from the boroughs, and he could laugh with them and tell jokes with them.’
“Sapienza added that Judge ‘saw the light in everybody. He saw the goodness in all people and met them where they were.’ “
- Share this blog post (or simply the request for information about Fr. Judge) with your social media, email, and personal contacts. Ask them to share this information with others by the same means. We need this to go viral to find people who knew Fr. Judge, who feel they have experienced his intercession in a possible miracle, or simply want to support and help the preliminaries of his Cause. Even if you have already shared the previous post, please continue to do so. The request for personal testimony is available in Spanish by clicking here and in Italian by clicking here.
- Refer anyone who has first-hand information about Fr. Judge to contact New Ways Ministry by email (info@NewWaysMinistry.org), phone (301-277-5674), or postal mail (4012 29th Street, Mount Rainier, Maryland 20712).
- Persons who have testimony about Fr. Judge need only make an initial contact. They do not need to explain the nature of their interaction or experience with him in the initial contact. Follow-up material will be sent to them to elicit the type of information that is needed.
- Ask other organizations to which you belong who also might know people who encountered Fr. Judge to share this information.
- Pray for the canonization of Fr. Judge.
Thank you for your support in sharing this information to help canonize this holy and courageous friar!
–Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, August 2, 2017
For more information on the life of Fr. Mychal Judge, click here.
To read Bondings 2.0 blog posts that mention Fr. Mychal Judge, click here.
To view a website dedicated to canonizing Fr. Mychal Judge, click here.